EVEN AS the current bilateral relations between India and China remain strained due to various reasons, the sixth chapter of Joint Military Training Exercise “Hand in Hand” between the two neighbours began in Pune on Wednesday with a focus on “transnational terrorism” and counter-terrorism operations in “semi-urban scenarios.”
Watch What Else is Making News
The opening ceremony of the annual exercise, which is held alternately in India and China every year, was held at the parade ground of Aundh Military Station.
Maj Gen YK Joshi, Additional Director-General of Military Operations of the Indian Army, and Maj Gen Wang Haijiang, Commander of the Tibetan theatre of the People’s Liberation Army, among others, were present at the exercise.
The parade was commanded by Lt Col Li Guanghua while the Indian contingent was led by Col Dayanand Sharma.
Briefing the media, Brig Alok Chandra, commander of the formation of Indian Army participating in the exercise, said, “The aim of the exercise is to practice joint planning and conduct of counter-terrorism operations in semi-urban terrain. The primary focus will remain at company-level joint drills. Two tactical exercises are also scheduled during the training — one on counter-terrorist operations in transnational terrorism scenario and the other on humanitarian and disaster relief operations. The topics chosen for the exercise are both live and current, affecting both the nations alike.”
“The exercise will send a strong signal to the world that both India and China understand the emerging threat of transnational terrorism and stand shoulder to shoulder united in countering the menace,” he added.
Earlier on November 15, the Chinese contingent from the 13 Group Army, Chengdu Military Region comprising of one infantry company along with the support staff, landed at Lohegaon airfield in two IL-76 carriers. The 13-day exercise will focus on crossing obstacles, special heliborne operations, firing of various weapons, handling and neutralisation of the Improvised Explosive Devices and conduct of cordon and search operations in insurgency and terrorism scenarios.
The opening ceremony was followed by both the contingents displaying their weapons, like assault rifles, grenade launchers and other sophisticated equipment. It concluded with a display of India’s martial arts of Kalyaripattu and Arm’s Gymnastics team, and China’s martial arts.
The bilateral ties between the two countries are currently strained over the issue of India’s entry to Nuclear Suppliers Group, ban on JeM chief Azhar Masood and recent stand off between the two armies in the Ladakh region.